Can you do me a favor?
Let’s pretend that I posted this a month ago… like it was planned. You know the drill: back-to-Holland happened, back-to-uni happened, new apartment happened… blablabla I wrote this before, just didn’t review it…. No one cares it’s happening!
Since I promised, and oh so many people anticipated this release (*coughs*), I present to you a very eloquent review of my Hamburg-Berlin-Chisinau bus experience.
First thing’s first, a disclaimer: ever since I heard Louis CK’s bid about people who complain about their flights, I reevaluated my attitude towards the awesome privilege that is flying. I gave myself a promise that I will never complain about a delayed flight or the amount of crying babies on the plane ever again.
HOWEVER, a Moldavian bus travelling through Europe for more than 24 hours is a completely different story. One may see this post as another passive-aggressive rant. I prefer to see it as a learning opportunity for the outsiders whose minds are still boggled by the very existence of my country, let alone the ways of our people.
The hellish ride started off with a Sasha-friendly scenario… aka, I overslept and almost missed my bus to Berlin. Normal, trust me. While travelling to Berlin to catch the “made in Moldova” bus, I noticed that there’s a lot of traffic. I was already nervous but still pretty sure that my compatriots won’t leave me in Berlin. I still figured I should call them just in case.
Please note, that when I booked my seat, I did not exactly pay for it. The agency informed me that the only way to purchase a ticket was to buy it from the driver on the spot. I confirmed with the agency several times that I will indeed have a spot on the bus, so I was convinced that even if I’m late, they will still wait for me. I had to make sure though… you never know, you know?
I’m gonna spare you the details of that memorable convo… too many nerve cells died a painful death in the process. This was the scoop of that conversation:
1. The driver doesn’t know anything. Ever. Quote: “I am not in charge! I don’t know! I have to check!”
2. The bus is sooooo overbooked that even if I weren’t late, I would still not get a seat
3. I should have bought my ticket at a ticket booth (which is non-existent, btw. I checked)
4. If I’m late, I’m not going home and it’s my fault and my problem.
When we finally reached the Berlin bus station, I ran for the Moldavian bus like Jim Carry ran for the plane in “Liar, Liar”. Obviously, when I reached it, I realized that, apparently I was talking to a different driver earlier, because a) there was still plenty of space and b) I could indeed buy the ticket from the driver. Silly me… You just gotta love Moldavian organizational skills…
Yes, I was pissed. Yes, my hair almost turned grey. But at least I got to sit and sort of relax. But not for long, folks!
Some 8 or 15 hours through the hell that was only part 1 of the ride and WHADDYA KNOW? I smell gas… Everyone smells gas. At some point the driver noticed it as well and we stopped.
Might I just say that when your gas tank is ruptured and leaking, you don’t go outside to have an effin’ smoke and brainstorm on possible solutions!!! Jesus, people! You wanna fly to Moldova?? I was so tired at that point that I didn’t care about our imminent presence on the morning bulletin and began the countdown in my mind. Thankfully, our people are brilliant at solving these kinds of brainteasers, I’ll give them that… They used scotch tape apparently… #trustme #i’m an engineer
I mean, this ride had it all: American blockbusters, Russian soap operas, incomparable Moldavian humor, buckwheat… even a potential explosion. I swear, at some point I heard baby chicks (or ducks) chirping at the front seat. You may think that I was at the point of hallucinating, but no… It is indeed a Moldavian thing to transport crates of baby poultry in a Eurolines bus. Now you know.
- My back hurts like a motherf*cker
- I’ve heard the words “federal agent” more or less 72 times thanks to our driver’s excellent movie choices and Mark Wahlberg
- In the last 24+ hours, I’ve had my weekly intake of saturated fat… Would you believe, Polish and Ukrainian gas stations don’t sell avocados, or mozzarella, or arugula? I know, right?
- What followed the heavy croissant consumption, was me breaking out and my face looking like a “connect-the-dots” game
- Turns out, you can force yourself to pee even if you don’t want to and are severely dehydrated
- Moldavian customs sucks… You would think that with all the corruption and bribing, the responsible authorities could at least invest enough in the WC facilities… Nope, coming home literally smells like shit. (excuse the expression)
- Our people are incredible. Yep, I suppose that’s the politically correct version of the word I would rather use.
So here you go! Sorry if this was too long. My advice to the poor souls who are still eager to visit magical Moldova: please, fly! Save yourselves the nerves, time and the early cultural shock, which by the way, will kick in the moment you enter our capital and see this very welcoming banner: